Setting goals is important. Dreams and goals are an essential component of my platform. It is also the main tool we use at COTS in our Passport to Self-Sufficiency theory of change. Most motivational speakers and writers encourage people to set goals. That is what vision boards are all about. Displaying your dreams and goals in pictures and words on a beautifully decorated board. Goals, goals, and more goals! We are all in agreement that goals are important!
Today, I want to talk about accomplishing those goals the right way. This subject came to me because in my work with women in poverty, I observe that often times, they try to accomplish their goals the wrong way. Everything is “right now,” “fast,” and they mostly function in short term thinking. When you are living in poverty, you are focused on what you need RIGHT NOW, and how you can get it RIGHT NOW. Long term decision making skills have to be developed.
Getting it the right way, is another way of saying to have the right foundation. I have done things the wrong way, and I have done things the right way. Trust me, it’s better the right way! Many people that I grew up with lost their lives and/or suffered dire consequences from going down the wrong path. When you have the right foundation, it lasts, and comes with peace. The wrong way, which is often the fast way, comes with turmoil. Example: Selling drugs, it’s fast money, you live good for a while, but there are only 2 roads it leads to: death and/or prison. It’s not worth it. I care about money too, but I want to earn it the right way. There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
In order to be truly successful in life, your foundation needs to be right. Your foundation is built on your morals, values, and beliefs. Sometimes we are so busy with everyday life that we do not have time to think about our values. At COTS, we had a staff training series last year about values. We talked about our personal values and how they align with the organization’s values. We did an exercise where we identified our top 10 personal values, then narrowed it down to 5. Then we discussed if our lives actually aligned with our values. Do your choices and behavior display your values? Would people that know you describe you as the person you say that you are based on your values? It was a very effective exercise. We all said we would be mindful of conducting regular self checkups, and reminding ourselves of our values.
We all have several compartments in our lives – family, friends, intimate relationships, professional, health, hobbies – and we may live by our values in one area, but not another. I have to check myself regularly because just like everyone else, I have situations that come up where I do things, or consider doing them, that go against my values. I had a situation that presented itself to me last year, where I went against my values. I am still struggling with it now, I got out of it, but it is still a struggle. Doing the right thing is not always easy. I am a work in progress, just like everyone else.
During a Coaching session with a young lady that I was working with we discussed her dishonesty about her education on her resume. We were reviewing her work history, and the fact that she has never kept a job past the 90 day probation period. One company she worked for I also used to work for. I knew that you had to have at least a high school diploma to obtain any job in the company. So, I asked her if she had been dishonest about having a high school diploma. She admitted that she had lied and usually does because she does not get responses and call backs when she is honest about not having a diploma. I asked her if she saw any connection between being dishonest and her jobs never working out. She could get hired, but she couldn’t keep a job. She said no, she never thought about it like that. Her intentions are good, to get a job, but her foundation is not right. Therefore, she can never keep the job.
The moral of the story is to build on a solid foundation, and to accomplish your goals the right way. The right way includes values such as: honesty, faith, education, good work ethic, going above and beyond, love, respect, honor, risk, adventure, partnership, independence, sacrifice, commitment, loyalty, intelligence, creativity, support, kindness, and balance. Doing it the wrong way includes behaviors such as: back stabbing, lying, stealing, hate, bad work ethic, no interest in education, doing barely enough, disrespect, laziness, selfishness, foolishness, bad attitude, and extremes.
Develop goals for yourself.
Identify your values.
Establish your foundation.
Conduct regular internal check-ups to ensure you are living by your values.
Get it the right way!